Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

going home

going home by owenfinn16
going home, a photo by owenfinn16 on Flickr.

Taught English today until 3, and then met a group for a short sunset tour of the city.

Life is good!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kids and the Yuba Mundo

A couple days ago, we grabbed some after school snacks in a "kombini" and rode to a nearby park to eat.  For some reason, the boys didn`t like the looks of the park`s benches - so they plopped right down on the Yuba Mundo`s sideloaders and proceeded to enjoy their kara-age and ice cream.

They do seem to love the "Big Blue Beast".

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yokohama Waterfront Ride

Rode the Yuba Mundo into work this morning, and later, I had a bit of time to enjoy a lunchtime ride along the waterfront.  

Yokohama Rides and Rentals hosts bicycle rides along this same stretch every weekend.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bikes available to rent!

Yokohama Rides and Rentals has a limited number of high quality folding bikes available to rent.  These bikes all fold down quickly and easily to a very small size.  They can easily be brought aboard the train or the shinkansen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yokohama Evening Cycling Cruise along the Waterfront

OK  - the Yuba Mundo is finally fixed and itchin` to haul some bikes.  Let`s ride! 

During the hot summer months in Yokohama, an early evening bicycle ride along the 3.3 mile stretch of waterfront, from Bay Quarter to Yamashita Park, is a great way to relax and get a bit of exercise.  The views all along the way are spectacular!

Yokohama Rides and Rentals will be offering escorted excursions along this route on Pacific Carryme folding bikes, - every Saturday and Sunday evening starting from Yokohama Station`s NorthEast Exit A at 7:00 PM.  The ride will be slow and leisurely with a few stops so you can take photos.  Should not take more than 60 minutes to Yamashita Park - by which time you will have worked up a healthy appetite which you can satisfy in nearby Chinatown.  Hope you will join us for a ride!

You can reserve a spot here:

Monday, June 13, 2011


It`s been over two months since the accident, but at long last, the bike is finished.   Picked it up this morning and and took it for a short ride to Yamashita Park.

"Big Dumb Yuba" - New Surly Big Dummy Fork and Salsa Gordo rims.

New Tioga threadless headset and Bazooka adjustable stem.  Sweet!

BUT...what is wrong with the above picture?
Highlight to reveal answer -- > They put the #%$&!#*!!ing stem on upside down! sheesh.

OK - no big deal.

The bike rides great and, after changing the handlebar position a bit, it feels very comfortable.   So, aside from above mentioned screw-up,  which I can take care of, I`m very pleased with the end result.   It definitely sucked not having the bike around for 2 months and dealing with the insurance company was a big PITA, but after all that, I think I ended up with one helluva nice ride.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 1945 and the Yokohama Peace Monument

If you weren`t looking for it you would never know it was there. 

At the very far end of a park that relatively few people use, and most don`t even know the name of, there is an unknown monument.  Within this obscure and rather simple looking structure are inscribed the names of some 14,000 people who died as a result of the firebombing of Yokohama on this same date 66 years ago.

The location of the monument in Naka Ward`s Odori Park, is probably not a great distance from where the first firebombs struck the city on the morning of May 29, 1945. 

Strange as it may seem, as far as I know, this is the only monument, memorial or marker in Yokohama in remembrance of those who perished that awful day.  It was built in 1995 and financed by "The  Yokohama Association of Bereaved Families of War".

Inscribed into the stone of the large white tablet in front of the monument is a message which explains "The history of the Peace Monument".  The last part of the first paragraph reads - "These were days that under the information and news control of the government, military and bureaucracy, the ordinary citizen unaware of the real situation of the war, were forced into a blind obedience. As the frontline moved on Japanese soil and American bombings rose in intensity both military and civilian establishments in over 100 cities were indiscriminately attacked. A great many unarmed ordinary citizens became victims."

This monument forces one to reflect on the insanity of war and for this reason it and the events of 66 years ago should never be forgotten.

above -Yokohama 1945 at the site of Enmei-en Temple

below - same location today

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yuba Mundo update

Update - the insurance company is only willing to pay the difference between the cost of the bike and what they have already paid. :(   Bitched and moaned as much as I could for a week but to no avail.  Also, my wife has to act as interpreter and go between, and she is sick of it. 

Anyway, this means I could pay about $500 of my own money for a new bike and then try to sell the other to make my money back, however, I am not certain I would be able to (with the broken fork) - so, after all that, I have decided to try to get the broken fork replaced.
There is only one Yuba dealer in Japan, and they don`t have any forks in stock, so I told the shop to go ahead and install the Surly Big Dummy fork.  Since the BD fork is threadless, they will need to install a threadless headset and stem and possibly new handlebars. 

One thing I am worried about - the Surly fork is about a centimeter longer than the Yuba`s, so there will be a slight change to the geometry -  but I see it`s been done before on a Yuba V2.

Will have it back in a week. 

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bent Fork

or The Bike that Doesn`t Ride Straight

About a month ago, I was hit by a car while riding the Yuba Mundo.  The car pulled out of a side-street suddenly and hit the right front of the bike at a 90 degree angle. To make a long story short, I wasn`t hurt, but the bike`s wheels were both bent and obviously totalled.  The police came, the driver apologized profusely and told me her insurance company would pay for any damage. 

I carried the heavy beast about a kilometer to a shop I had done business with in the past, and the following day the shop assured me that there was no frame damage and the bike required only two new wheels and a set of cranks.

Well, I picked up the bike today and was very impressed with the nice new Salsa Gordo rims and Shimano cranks, but after a couple minutes of riding it became apparent that something was very wrong. The bike which used to be very stable (I used to be able to ride this bike with no hands!), now wanted to pull off sharply to the left if I didn`t hold on firmly with both hands.

When I got home, I stood looking straight down at the fork and I could see that it was bent - only 2 -3mm perhaps, but definitely enough to effect the ride. What`s more, I noticed it is even worse with weight on the back, essentially making this cargo bike useless. Now, I have to bring it back to the shop and hopefully won`t have to fight the driver`s insurance company. What a PITA!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yokohama Community Cycle - BayBike

Yokohama has a brand new automated bicycle rental system called "BayBike".

 My first thought, after noticing some of the 300 new red and blue minivelos lined up neatly at one of the 15 rental stations around town, was "wow!" followed by - "there goes my business."  However, according to one of the staffpeople I spoke with, it isn`t really meant to be a rental system for tourists, but a convenient system for local people to use.  Bikes are picked up at one of the 15 rental stations and can be dropped off at another rental station.    Bikes apparently cannot be rented by the day, but for 30 minutes at a time with late charges accessed for late returns .  

I made one futile attempt at  registering for the service, and was left thinking there is absolutely no way a tourist from outside Japan is ever gonna figure out how it works.  Yokohama Rides and Rentals lives!

...but most definitely a wasted opportunity for the city of Yokohama - at a time when the city has been working hard to attract tourists from overseas, an easy to use and affordable bicycle rental system that sightseers could access would certainly be very popular, and could maybe even become a tourist attraction in it`s own right.  Anyway, after talking to a couple of the staff, I get the feeling they are still trying to work out the kinks - hopefully, they see the light and change their marketing plan a bit. 

for more info(Japanese):

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to make the most of your time in Yokohama

There are actually many interesting things to see and do in Yokohama!

Firstly, you guessed it - you should rent a bicycle or sign up for a bike tour so you can cover a lot of ground easily and thus make the most of your day! A bicycle is probably the best way to get a good feel for a city when you don`t have so much time.

Three things to do:

Explore Minato Mirai - this is the ultra modern part of the city. Start by shopping and eating at Queens East and Landmark Tower, then ride the roller coaster or enormous Ferris Wheel in "Cosmoworld". As the sun is going down walk toward the waterfront and enjoy the amazing views (and more shopping) at World Porter and Aka Renga (Red Brick Warehouse). Aka Renga are two old warehouses that have been converted to a great shopping and dining space. There are usually events like concerts here as well as seasonal stuff like a Summer beach park, Ice skating in the winter and a great outdoor "Octoberfest" in Autumn.

Yamashita Park and Chinatown - Yamashita is a beautiful old waterfront park that is known locally as Yokohama`s front yard. A great place for a stroll, a ride or to take a break. Not far, from the park is Chukagai AKA Chinatown. Here you should just go with the flow and enjoy the experience of wandering and getting lost amongst the colorful, confusing but always interesting sights and sounds and smells of the area.

Kannai and Noge - Kannai, is just to the west of Chinatown and near to Yokohama Baseball Stadium. It is the cities entertainment area, full of restaurants, bars, hostess clubs and Jazz clubs. Noge is close to Sakuragicho Station, but is a more compact area of old streets and interesting casual restaurants. It`s where the residents go to unwind after work for an inexpensive good time. In Spring, the nearby Ookagawa River is definitely worth seeing when the Cherry Tree, which line it`s "banks" are in bloom. Saddling up to a seat at one of the stalls set up under the blossoms is a perfect way to end the day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Carryme and a Kingfisher "where the birds reside"

agh - blurry photo!  Anyway, a very beautiful kingfisher(I`ve never seen one before) has apparently made a home at this lovely little, out-of-the way Yokohama shrine.  The large moss covered rock he was contentedly perched on, is surrounded by a small pond full of turtles.  The pond, in turn, is surrounded by bright red torii gates.  I`ll have to go back with the tripod soon!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ride along the Old Tokaido

The Old Tokaido Road was the heavily travelled walkway connecting Edo(Tokyo) to Kyoto during the Tokugawa Period. Yesterday, I took the Dahon out for a spin along the famous old highway from Kanagawa to Hodogaya. 

All along the old road are temples, shrines, old cemetaries and other remnants of the past.  This shrine is just across the street from a bustling business center, but you`d never know it once iside the grounds.

There are many historical markers and signs all along the route.  

Part of the old Tokaido is now an interesting shopping street - Matsubara.

Time to head home!